2013 is jam-packed with AAA releases aplenty like recent arrivals like BioShock Infinite and Injustice: Gods Among Us, as well as upcoming games like GRiD 2 and Dead Island Riptide. This doesn’t mean you should forget about the awesome fleet of incoming “indie” games, the smaller releases that will soon be arriving on consoles and PC’s.
A lot of these smaller games are just as enjoyable as their larger-budget brethren and they bring unexpected twists to the gameplay that you might not be expecting, whether it’s making use of your PlayStation Move controllers in a four-player party game or engaging in a side-scrolling shoot-em-up that emulates the classic spirit of the Contra franchise.
So join us now as we take a look at some of the better independent games coming up for 2013. You might not have heard of a few of these, but we hope you’ll want to try them for yourself once we’re done explaining their awesomeness.
The Witness (PlayStation 4, PC)
The latest from Braid creator Jonathan Blow is a far cry from what that side-scrolling game offered. Making the shift from an artistic 2D universe to a breathtaking 3D world, The Witness offers a captivating adventure filled with exploration wonder and brain-boggling puzzle solving. It almost reminds us of the classic game Myst but with a beautifully drawn world to explore and surprises aplenty, which is what we expect from a designer like Jonathan. It was shown during the PlayStation 4 event a couple of months ago, butyou can catch the presentation at this video link if you somehow missed out. Prepare to Witness a return to indie greatness!
Monaco (Xbox Live Arcade, PC)
When’s the last time that you took part in a game that make you feel like you were taking part in a major heist? Payday: The Heist might come to mind, but not everyone wants to play a first-person shooter. Enter Monaco, a quirky yet fun little game from Pocketwatch Games. The game lets you engage with fellow players as you pull up crimes using small but sufficient icons, drawing out battle plans and executing distractions so your partners can keep up on their end. It looks a tad rambunctious judging from the trailer, but it’s very approachable and it could easily become a party favorite when it releases later this month.
Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PS Vita)
A game that came out just over a month ago, Runner 2 continues the fast-moving exploits of Commander Video as he attempts to vanquish evil while keeping on the run through a string of continuously changing levels. With a gorgeous new art style that’s a huge step up from the original Bit.Trip Runner along with a variety of challenges that await you in later stages and a simple play style and the bold narration by Charles Martinet (yep, Mario himself!) Runner 2 is a non-stop thrill ride. You can get it now for about $15 on XBLA, PlayStation Network and the eShop, with a PS Vita release this Summer.
Super TIME Force (Xbox Live Arcade)
The team at Capy has been rather busy on this retro-style multiplayer shooter, one that has you controlling members of the T.I.M.E. Force squad as they vanquish evil throughout history. The good news is that the game is coming along well, following a stellar showcase at PAX East last month. It can be a little manic at times when enemies overflow onto the screen, but veteran shooters who have mastered the likes of Metal Slug and Contra will certainly welcome the challenge. The game has some humorous cinemas as a bonus, including this funny little video that explains the rewind function. (Remember kids, don’t try jumping burning tires at home.)
Divekick (PlayStation Network, PS Vita, PC)
Ready, set, DIVEKICK! One of the biggest sensations to sweep PAX East last month (and Game Developers Conference a week after) was Iron Galaxy’s Divekick, a fighting game that is unlike anything you’ve seen on the market. Rather than relying on complex control functions and special moves, the game simply pits one player against another in a “first hit wins” competition. You’ll choose from a variety of characters and execute smashing kick moves while trying to win a round in a best-of-five contest. This is sure to be a party favorite when the team releases it later this year. Just tell us that it has online play, Iron Galaxy…we’ve got a Divekick league ready for the challenge!
Primal Carnage: Genesis (PlayStation 4)
Primal Carnage initially released for PC earlier this year, pitting interesting adversaries against one another in combat – dinosaurs versus heavily armed soldiers. The game is a modest success, but it doesn’t have the heavy distribution of other popular shooters. That’ll change this fall when the team unleashes the follow-up subtitled Genesis for the PlayStation 4. Initially announced at the Game Developers Conference, Genesis will bring chaotic dinos-versus-soldiers action to the next-gen system with a modest price tag and plenty of options. If you want to get an idea of what kind of chaos you’re in for, give the PC version a try. Play as the T-Rex – you’ll thank me later.
Sportsfriends (PlayStation 3)
Finally, a quartet of innovative games labeled the Sportsfriends is coming to PS3 this year, consisting of such titles as BaraBariBall, Hokra, Super Pole Riders and Johann Sebastian Joust. All of them are innovative and have something to offer, but our personal favorite happens to be Joust where you take four PlayStation Move controllers and hand them to friends and they try to avoid being taken out of the round by fast hand movements. At the same time, you have to keep up with the flow of the music that’s being played. We can easily see this game becoming an instant party favorite.
So there you have it. Don’t forget about the indies, folks. There are plenty of good games out there!